Wednesday, September 30, 2015

I Can't Even Pronounce "Joaquin"

We're all hunkering down here for a hurricane, which means massive lines at the supermarket with people buying water and toilet paper and what-all.  The storm is probably still 2 or 3 days away, and I'll bet the stores are already out of D batteries.  Me, I'm buying chocolate. And beer, for Larry.  We like to witness the end of the world in comfort.

My latest chocolate love...

But that's not why I am here tonight.  I am here to announce that Larry has recently achieved a goal he has been working towards for almost 3 years now - he has managed to tear out the walls and put in insulation in EVERY ROOM of the top 2 floors of our townhouse. I'm very proud of him.  And of me, for not divorcing him during this process.

Believe me, there were times that was a definite possibility...

So now Larry and I sit around the living room in the evening and say things like "Hey, it's getting chilly out. Let's close all the windows and see how well the house maintains temperature until morning!", as though that is a really fun thing to do.

And we wonder why our teens don't talk to us.

Lord help the unsuspecting neighbor who might wander into our house and say something innocuous such as "Oh, hey, I hear you put in insulation!" Because he/she is then treated to a detailed, play-by-play account of all the intricacies involved in insulating one's home to code. You see, Larry - bless his heart - thinks everyone is as interested by this topic as he is. When there are no fresh victims around, Larry regales me with fond reminiscences of when he first ripped out our den.  "Remember the problem with the fireplace mantel?" he asks me, waxing nostalgic. "And the baseboards? Remember how we couldn't agree on those?"

Yes, yes, I do.  You know, sometimes I think I should have run off with that helpful guy from Home Depot while I had the chance.  Or maybe I'll just order some more yarn and chocolate to compensate for having to look interested in a lecture about the comparative merits of different types of insulation material.  Turns out, I can buy those toffee and almond bars in bulk from Amazon...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Born To Spell

Still avoiding the Internet (well, mostly) here and trying to be an adult.  It's not much fun, but the house does seem to stay a lot better organized when I do this.  As in, everyone can find their shoes, the refrigerator isn't a total mess, and cleaning up for our Thursday morning world history class isn't a total nightmare...

Around here, that's progress.

Exciting news is that I might have a real job (vacation! personal days! benefits!) in the editing field, come January.  What with the kids all doing that growing-up thing and all, I really need something else useful to do in my life (because cleaning out the refrigerator and nagging the kids to clean their rooms just isn't as fulfilling as it sounds). Also, money is nice.  So, if you all could just keep your fingers crossed for me for the next, oh, 3 months, that would be helpful.

And if I could manage to keep from spending as though I actually have the job already, that would be helpful, too.  Meaning, no matter how cute they look on the Internet, no new camping trailer purchases will be happening around here for the foreseeable future.

Wow, I spelled foreseeable correctly. I am amazing. I have mentioned my brush with spelling bee fame, haven't I? Glory days, people - glory days.

And...that's all for tonight. I just wanted to touch base with you lovely readers and wish you a Happy Bruce Springsteen Birthday.  The man is 66.  I remember seeing him back in 1984 and thinking he was really old, because he was in his THIRTIES.

Yup, he looks ancient there. ANCIENT. Sometimes? I hate my 21-year-old stupid self.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Runaway Fantasies

You haven't heard from me in over a week, because I've been trying to be a responsible adult and stay off the darn Internet long enough to get all my stuff done.  That means cleaning house, feeding people, driving people, trying to exercise, and...well, I guess that's it.  That, and writing a zillion checks and signing gazillion forms because it is the beginning of the school year and apparently my kids want to do things. Also, I've been having to dodge the eye rolling and the bored looks and the exasperated sighs emanating at an alarming rate from my newly minted 13-year-old. That'll keep a person busy.

I WAS on the Internet long enough to feed my obsession with cute camping trailers, however. I don't know why I am fascinated by them, but maybe it's because my husband (and our budget) makes me vacation in the "great" outdoors for 2 weeks every year.  Or maybe because I fantasize about running away from home and I would need a place to sleep if I do that.  Anyway, over the past year I've been salivating over the Little Guy trailer (tiny! cute! lightweight!). Larry was never on board with the idea, though, because he is too tall to stand up in it. Larry obviously doesn't realize that, should I choose to run away from home, he won't be invited to accompany me.

Hey, SOMEONE has to stay here and raise these kids, you know.

A teeny, tiny kitchen in the back! Perfect for a fugitive...

I've also been admiring the Alto travel trailers (cute! lightweight! toilet!), but PRICE-Y and also it's made in Canada somewhere and there is a waiting list over a year long.

$35,000 worth of cute 
Anywhoo, none of that matters now, because I have found my true love.  Right here.  More expensive than the Little Guy, but way cheaper than the Alto. CUTE, CUTE, CUTE. And you can choose your color. Plus, there are modular furnishings inside, so you can rearrange it as you need to or add different components.

Larry, typically, refuses to share my enthusiasm.  He keeps muttering something about "money" and "trees."  Also, he thinks this camper looks like what would happen if a Volkswagen smashed into an IKEA store.

Did I mention CUTE?

As if there's something wrong with that.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015


It has come to this.  As I sit here, my girls are semi-enthusiastically cleaning their rooms.  Why? I'll tell you why. In a fit of desperation, I told them I would PAY them anywhere from a nickel to a quarter for each object they gave away or threw out.

You read that correctly. I am paying them to throw things out. I don't think I can sink any lower in the parenting game at this point.

I OWN this.  I USE it.
It's not as if I don't know how to get kids to clean their rooms.  I'm a Flylady devotee, you know, and I've spent years marching into their room with a timer once a week, cheering them on to just do 15 minutes. Recently, I followed the advice from some Facebook post I found that swore all we would need is 10 minutes to make their room liveable.

In other words, I know all the tricks and I've been using them for over 20 years.

But lately, no matter how I approach tidying up, the girls will be flailing all over the room like dying fish on a beach, acting as though they had never seen a Swiffer in all their born days.  They'll stand there and say to me, "WHAT stuff under the bed? We cleaned it already." And I have to go in there and point out every last bit of paper and used Kleenex and whatever else is apparently invisible to the tween girl eye. A couple of weeks ago, tired of the histrionics, I went in there by myself and dumped a ton of stuff into bins and stacked them in a corner of the room.  But the room looked just as bad 3 days later.

Money talks, apparently

Done.  I AM DONE.

Final tally? $13 for Susie, $7.20 for Rachel.  This is one heck of a precedent I've set.  But in another month (because Larry is at it again), each girl will have her own room (remember? David went to college), and at least I will know whose mess is whose.  At least I will be able to shut them in their separate rooms to clean up and not have to hear them bickering over every last pencil and Kleenex. Or, I could just keep the doors to their rooms shut all the time and not deal with it at all until they go to college. Hey, it worked with David.  Well, sort of...

[Dollars image: wpclipart]

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Ah, Wilderness!

So, I left for vacation determined to finish up all my current knitting projects so I would be free to start new ones when I got home.

That didn't happen. Where does a dream go when it dies, anyway?

Lewis and Clark ran across this sort of thing all the time, I'm sure

We're back from 10 days of camping in the Maine wilderness (well, if the definition of wilderness includes a campground with ice cream cones every night, pastries in the morning, and bathrooms to die for), and I wish I had paid someone, anyone, to come to my house and take ALL THE CRAP out of it before we returned.  Because, really, we had all the clothes and stuff we needed while we were camping, so what are all these extra things still doing here, anyway?

Says the woman who dragged a neighbor's discarded bookcase and large wicker basket in from the curb this afternoon...

Anyway, the trip - it was marvelous. I mean, mostly marvelous. You know how personal injury lawyers chase ambulances? Well, divorce lawyers couldn't do better than to hang around family campgrounds and hand out business cards.  Particularly during set-up and take-down. And those days in between...

Where was I? Oh, yes, the trip.  We did 3 hikes (South Bubble, Pemetic, and Beech Cliff, for you Acadia National Park fans), 3 family bicycle rides (which, I swear, required more planning and preparation than landing Allied troops on that beach in Normandy), and Larry even had time to canoe and kayak with Rachel.  What's more, Brian got his own tent and was thus able to stand being with us for 2 whole weeks.

Teens are fun, right? FUN.

So now I am back home, trying to figure out what to do with the mess we left behind and attempting to gear up for the school year, which is bearing down on us with all the delicacy of a Cat 5 hurricane. Gearing up includes having Rachel finish her standardized tests that were supposed to be completed by the end of July, so I can legally homeschool her again.

See? I'm behind, and we haven't even started the school year yet.  This does not bode well.

I think I'll go throw some more stuff out, while Larry isn't watching.  Also, I believe I'm supposed to be providing something other than ice cream cones for dinner now. Although, for the life of me, I cannot think why...